Monday, February 7, 2011

Kia Launches its First Hybrid Model, Says Hybrids to be Available in Europe by 2013

Following in the footsteps of its mother company, Hyundai and its recently launched Elantra LPI Hybrid, Kia has introduced its first commercialized hybrid - electric car onto the Korean market. As its name suggests, the Forte LPI Hybrid utilizes the same drivetrain with the Elantra that comprises of a 1.6-liter LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) engine, a 15kW and 105Nm electric motor and a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). The hybrid system is also equipped with Kia's Intelligent Stop and Go system.

Furthermore, the Korean automaker's engineers honed the Forte sedan's aerodynamics by applying different front/rear bumper skirts, aluminum wheels and rear spoiler as well as using a special cover for the lower part of the engine room and centre floor. These changes resulted in a lowered air resistance of 0.26 Cd, compared to 0.29 Cd for the standard, petrol-powered Forte sedan.

The Forte LPI Hybrid has a combined fuel efficiency of 17.2km per liter of LPG which Kia says is the equivalent of 21.5km/liter (50.6mpg US, 60.7mpg UK or 4.7lt /100 km) in a standard petrol engine.

While the LPG-hybrid version of the Forte won't be making it to other markets outside Korea, Kia said that it the company is currently working on petrol-powered and plug-in hybrids that are likely to arrive in European showrooms by 2013.

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